5 things I learnt from my first cosplay

Last weekend, I went to EGX in Birmingham as Max from Life is Strange (if you haven’t played it, look it up – it’s a cracker of a game).21762196_10203871281739059_6856551430369677466_n

I was pretty nervous, as I don’t know anyone personally who cosplays and thought there might be some unwritten rules I didn’t know I had to follow. Picking Max was a genius idea, as looking uncomfortable and awkward really worked for the character.

As I didn’t find an awful lot of advice for first-timers online, I thought I’d share some things I learnt from my first cosplay adventure. Two of them are about wigs, sorry in advance.

1. There was no need to be self-conscious

I deliberately picked a cosplay I thought a) wouldn’t make me look too outlandish on the train to Birmingham and b) that I could easily take off if I felt uncomfortable. I also had no intention of entering a competition or of drawing any additional attention to myself, beyond walking around in costume. I really didn’t need to be as nervous as I was, as it turns out. I saw people wearing all kinds of nonsense (not even just talking cosplayers here) and everyone basically just got on with their own thing. My cosplay went pretty much unremarked upon, which has given me a lot more confidence to do something more adventurous next time.

2. Cosplay is expensive!Max_Concept_Art

Max is a character that you can recreate fairly accurately without being able to sew or spend much money (comparatively). But I was still really surprised at how much I ended up spending and how long it took me to pull together. I have just worked out exactly how much it cost for the purposes of this post (in general I’d advise against doing this, as it’s just too distressing) and its…a lot. If anyone is interested in how I put together my cosplay and what it cost, let me know and I’ll do a full post.

3. Wigs I: they HURT

I watched a huge number of YouTube tutorials and none of them mentioned this. I started the day wearing two wig caps to try and flatten my hair (it’s really thick) and the wig on a tight-ish setting that was pretty snug, and definitely not going to budge. But an hour in, my head was pounding and the pressure made me feel physically sick. I had to sneak into a train toilet to take one of the wig caps off and adjust the thing to its loosest setting so it was just kind of perched on my head. It did make it at least wearable, but by 5pm the headache was back and I had to revert to my own hair. Let this be a warning.

4. Wigs II: don’t use hairspray

Max_CaulfieldThe wig I wore had a silly, teenager fringe that kept dropping into my eyes. I haven’t had to rely so much on one eye since I was 16. I did read online that you should only use products that are meant for wig styling to style wigs. But, I sagely decided to ignore this advice to save money and used hairspray to fix the fringe out of my eyes. It worked until the stuff dried, and it looked like my fake hair was covered mega dandruff. The hairspray dried white and kind of looked like globules of glue and I couldn’t get it all out. In conclusion, hairspray not recommended.

5. Embrace your uniqueness!

I found the most incredible cosplays for Max online, most of which were so much better than what I could manage – there are some incredibly talented people out there who also have the time and money to invest whole-heartedly in this. For most of us, there is only so far you can go to look like someone (it turns out I really don’t have the body type to rock Max’s clothing…) I tried not to compare myself to others too much in the end. Admire and compliment the pretty people, but don’t sweat it when you don’t look like them. After all, like you, your cosplay is unique.